Marilyn Monroe by J. R. Eyerman, 1947 © Time, Inc.
On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Marllyn Monroe's death which occurred on August 5, 1962 the British house of perfume Floris was prompted to dig dipper in their archives for clues to a possible purchase by the late movie star. The house is known to have catered to a roster of celebrities since its foundation in 1730, so they knew that it was well possible that some hidden gem might emerge from the old bundled papers.
In fragrance - and show-business-lore, there has been a double feedback effect regarding two icons, Norma Jean and her famous quote about Chanel No.5 being the only nightie she would habitually wear to bed. In the recent biopic My Week with Marilyn where Michelle Williams plays the pulpous actress, she is seen to exclaim playfully and diplomatically during a trip to Great-Britain that she loves to wear Lavender by Yardley...
Floris now have been able to reveal that Marilyn Monroe liked an altogether different perfume from the two previously mentioned. She passed an order on December 14th, 1959 - the year she played in Some Like it Hot - for half a dozen perfume bottles of Rose Geranium Toilet Water (Eau de Toilette is more commonly used a terminology nowadays) to be delivered to the Beverly Hills Hotel, an order which was put under the name of her personal secretary Dorothy Blass acting as personal shopper and identity cover. She was only interested in this scent rather than ordering a variety of perfumes.
The fragrance, which is still produced today albeit in Bath Essence (£49) and soap (£22) forms only, features top notes of citronella, greens and geranium followed by a heart of palmarose, rose, rosewood and ending with a base note of cedarwood.
Geranium essential oil interestingly enough is known to have particular affinity to women as it possesses the property of regulating the hormonal system. One may guess that Marilyn Monroe might have found the fragrance both soothing and uplifting. She may also possibly have used it in her bath, a gesture which was more common in the past.
Upon reading the notes, and without knowing the original Floris scent, it made us think, once more, of our latest obsession La Compagnie de Provence Anis Patchouli which has a pronounced geranium facet mingling with rose and citrusy/citronella accents, and more. We can empathize with the attraction.
Why are we fascinated by celebrities' beauty choices is a more general question one might ask. A simple, practical answer at first is that they help us gain time. Having greater access to all sorts of paraphernalia, we assume their taste and savvy is superior to those of more ordinary people in terms of beauty access. Secondly of course, there is a process of identification between a choice one makes and one's personality it is assumed. Somehow, Rose Geranium would reflect Marilyn Monroe's character especially so since it was hush-hush until now, far from any advertizing rationale. A personal beauty choice revealed is somehow equated with a straightforward access to the hidden, authentic dimension of a celebrity. It is a promise of going beyond the persona and approaching the real person. Of course, a third main line of thought is to consider that perfume can impact personality, modulate it, and so, really the star might be Rose Geranium In those moments Marilyn wore it, for she borrowed some of the personality of the scent, its floral inflections guiding her mood.
Info source: Daily Mail
Will you be tempted to try out this perfume just because Marilyn wore it or because you like geranium?